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The INvisible Project

Photography and stories to illustrate the day-to-day struggles of real people living with chronic pain. 

The goal is to make visible the experiences and challenges that are oftentimes hidden, ignored or misunderstood.


U.S. Pain Foundation is excited to announce the launch of the 2015 INvisible Project this January!


We would like to acknowledge and thank our upcoming participants - Anthony Ameen, Casey Cashman, Emily Lemiska, Guy LoPresti, JP Summers, Lynne Popadak, Melanie Dickens, Michele Rice, Nick Duggan and Robert Foley - for being a part of this profound campaign.


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December, 19, 2014
The Year In Review
Looking Back on 2014
To My Fellow Pain Warriors and Friends:

2014 has been a great year filled with many magical moments. We, as an organization, have helped more people than we ever thought possible! The work U.S. Pain strives to do is recognized on a national level, and that is something we all can be proud of ... since we all are a part of the success to improve pain care in America. 


Here are a few impressive numbers for the past year regarding accomplishments:

  • 8,230 new members
  • 20 Pain Proclamations approved
  • 12 Medical Conferences attended
  • 80+ Pain Awareness events
  • Record number of "Fight Gone Bad - CrossFit Los Altos" participants and donors that raised over $9,000 to support our continual efforts
  • Inaugural Pain Ambassador Summit
  • Invited to join multiple state commission advisory boards regarding safe prescribing
  • Showcased the INvisible Project at over 30 places


For 2015, we have our sights set high with even more planned! Besides continuing to expand and improve our current programs, we are going to launch PainMedicine 411, a new site discussing the risks and benefits involved with prescription drugs, so you - the patient - can make better informed decisions about your personal treatment program. We plan to further develop Learn About Your Pain, launch the 2015 INvisible Project and host four Take Control Of Your Pain days (in Maryland, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C. and the Bay Area). We are in the process of live streaming these events too so everyone can feel involved. In addition to our current programs, U.S. Pain is dedicated to advancing care and access to integrative pain therapies. This is an important issue to the wellbeing and long-term care for people on their healing journey. 


Thank you for being a part of our mission - to improve the lives of those living with pain by validating chronic medical conditions and educating others. You are all pain warriors, and U.S. Pain is here to help.


Wishing you all a low-pain and high-spirits day,

Paul Gileno

            Founder & President, U.S. Pain Foundation

A Look Back on the Ever-Growing Pain Ambassador Program
Pain Ambassadors inspired communities across the nation this year by sharing their stories and connecting with others. As we realized the need to further expand our advocacy efforts, the Pain Ambassador Advocates program was developed. This program encourages volunteers to become involved with different advocacy methods.


Pain Ambassador Advocates took action by speaking with members of numerous committees and legislative bodies. In its first year, the Pain Ambassador Advocates Program concentrated on proposed legislation throughout the nation. Issues ranged from off-labeling prescriptions; supporting medicinal marijuana legislation; specialty tiers; step therapy; access to abuse-deterrent pain medications; proper dosage and safe storage campaigns; and patient access to non-pharmacological treatments.


With advocacy efforts incredibly strong, pain ambassadors took to their local community, circulating pain-related materials, hosting awareness events and educating the masses on the number of Americans riddled with chronic pain.


We had Pain Ambassadors participating in 5K walking/running events; we even had a Pain Ambassador complete the Boston Marathon for U.S. Pain. Others attended community events or health fairs or held fundraisers to help raise awareness. Federal agencies such as the FDA and Social Security Administration were given testimony generated by Pain Ambassadors. Due to the work of our amazing pain warriors, we received record numbers of approved state pain proclamations during the month of September.


Once again, Pain Ambassadors and Advocates were able to shed positive light upon the entire pain community. We are so proud of the hard work and dedication each and every pain warrior has provided toward the organization's mission. We are truly grateful for our incredible team. What a great year ... and I cannot wait to see what unfolds in 2015.

Medicinal Marijuana Efforts
2014 has been an amazing year for the Medical Marijuana movement! In total, 23* states, as well as Washington, D.C., have passed legislation approving its use for medical purposes. With more states submitting legislation for consideration in 2015, we know we will be busy educating others on the proper use and need for this form of therapy.


As the Directors for Medicinal Marijuana for U.S. Pain Foundation, Stu and I have been fortunate to advocate for legislation in support of medicinal use. We strive to clarify misperceptions, create awareness and ensure patients in others states have the same life-changing treatment options available to them as I have in Rhode Island.


Some highlights for us this year were:

  • Sharing my testimony with the FDA about my journey with pain, knowing my use of medicinal marijuana would be documented.
  • Visiting Massachusetts to  discuss why their current programs are confusing and difficult to understand.
  •  Spoke at Brown University about pain
  • Being honored with a complementary trip DC to attend the National Cannabis Conference ... that concluded with advocating on the Hill.
  • Holding our annual September Pain Awareness Event with the focus on medical marijuana. We were privileged to have Harvard's Dr. Stephen Corn join as one of our guest speakers on the topic.


Daily, Stu and I have conversations or are responding to emails from those interested in learning more; and that makes us happy. We feel our role is best served informing others about this much-needed form of therapy. We assist them on how to testify as well as educate legislatures about medicinal marijuana and its benefit to those with pain.


This movement is real, is progressing on and we are thrilled. We cannot wait to see what happens in 2015!


Ellen Lenox Smith and Stu Smith spearhead the support of legislation for medicinal marijuana in states that need it. For more information regarding medicinal marijuana, simply visit our website:

*Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

Integrative Pain Care Policies

As we are a patient-focused organization, U.S. Pain sees it as our responsibility to advocate for pain care rights. We know all forms of treatment are important (since what works for one may not be the answer for another) and so we are proud of the work we do advancing issues we feel will positively affect the pain community.


In 2015, we are spearheading advocacy efforts on Integrative Health Care Policies. Complementary medicine has been vital to managing pain for many of us; and yet, it sadly is not covered a great deal of the time within our healthcare plans. This needs to change. And U.S. Pain will be that loud voice in this discussion.


Interested in becoming involved in this advocacy measure?



Take Control Of Your Pain

Take Control of Your Pain is the namesake for all U.S. Pain patient-education days and summits. The day focuses on obtaining knowledge, meeting others, sharing feelings and gaining relief and hope. On March 9th, in cooperation with the American Academy of Pain Medicine, U.S. Pain hosted a Take Control Of Your Pain day at the Phoenix Convention Center.


With some of the most recognized, respected names in the pain field speaking - Dr. Charles Argoff, Dr. Steven Stanos, Dr. Trip Buckenmaier, Dr. Lynn Webster and patient-story from Michaela O'Connor- the presenters were engaging, honest and highly informative. Each of them was there for one reason: to inform and provide hope.


The common message throughout the day was wethe patient, must demand change. We need to recognize that our voices hold power, and that for us to receive the care we deserve, we must become part of the solution. It is up to the 100 million Americans living with pain to rally together. We have to advocate for patient rights, more funding and improved healthcare; and it is going to take all of us working together to obtain proper pain care.


U.S. Pain Foundation is proud of these educational summits, and is working on hosting four Take Control of Your Pain days in 2015.

Firsts in 2014


This past year marked the Inaugural U.S. Pain Foundation Ambassador Advocacy Summit. The goal of the summit was to:

  • Orient Ambassadors and Allied Organizations to the mission and priorities of U.S. Pain
  • Provide hands-on media and policy-related training for those attending
  • Educate, inspire and empower ambassadors and partnering organizations
  • Inform others about how to become involved with U.S. Pain Foundation's Pain Awareness Campaign for 2014
  • Increase the organization's alliance with a variety of social groups


Throughout the summit, Pain Ambassadors were given various tools to assist in advocacy efforts. Such tools included understanding how to access and use resources provided by U.S. Pain Foundation and other aligned groups. By learning how state bills become laws, advocates discovered the importance of their role in influencing them and making an actual difference.


This three-day conference invigorated Pain Ambassadors to take more positive steps to help provide a brighter future for patients across the nation. It turned out to be an amazing opportunity to meet face-to-face with the passionate individuals who are working within the pain community at ground zero to eradicate the stigmas and misconceptions surrounding pain care.


Beautify in Blue

Beautify in Blue is a visual initiative designed to emphasize the bravery of those living with pain on a daily basis. As a new awareness campaign for the month of September, cities and towns proudly displayed royal blue colored signs and ribbons in approved locations. Beautify in Blue was a huge success! Not only did it empower those living with pain, but it also led to educating the public about the staggering health epidemic that afflicts over 100 million Americans. U.S. Pain is already gearing up for next year and expanding the Beautify in Blue program.


Alex & Ani - Charmed by Charity

U.S. Pain Foundation was delighted to pair with jewelry-designer, Alex and Ani this year. Through two awareness and fundraising events at the Red Bank, NJ store, we raised over $1,000 for U.S. Pain's programs and initiatives!



U.S. Pain joined forces with AmazonSmile this year. This is simplest, easiest and most automatic way for you to support U.S. Pain Foundation every time you shop! Simply visit and choose U.S. Pain Foundation as the organization you wish to support. Then each time you make a purchase through AmazonSmile, Amazon will give to U.S. Pain in a form of a donation. It is that easy and there is NO COST to you!


Macy's "Shop for a Cause"

This year, U.S. Pain Foundation partnered with Macy's "Shop for a Cause," a fundraising tool for nonprofit organizations.



We participated in our first annual GivingTuesday campaign.


 Abilities Expo 

U.S. Pain Foundation was proud to be a booth exhibitor at the Abilities Expo Bay Area this November. For nearly thirty-five years, the Abilities Expo has shared new technologies, new possibilities and new solutions that can help change your life while dealing with pain and disability. There's a big difference between 'disability' and 'disabled,' and Abilities Expo goal is to highlight that difference. We look forward to teaming with them next year at all their six venues. 



Partnering Groups
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U.S. Pain Foundation would like to thank all of its corporate members.


To see a list of our corporate members, please click here



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